Smoking, Class And The Legitimisation Of Power

I’ve just ordered a book I noticed on Facebook today: Smoking, Class And The Legitimisation Of Power by Sean Gabb. It was first published in 2011, but seems to be composed of a number of earlier writings.

Sean Gabb seems to have written for Forest in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when it was being led by Chris Tame until his dismissal in 1995. I can find no mention of either of them on Forest’s website.

In an Amazon summary:

The “War against Tobacco” is one of the central facts of modern life. In this book, Sean Gabb analyses the nature and progress of the “war”. The stated reasons for the war have varied according to time and place. According to Dr Gabb, however, all reasons have one thing in common-they rest on a base of lies and half truths. But this is not simply a book about the history of tobacco and the scientific debate on its dangers. It also examines why, given the status of the evidence against it, there is a war against tobacco. Dr Gabb shows that this war is part of a much larger project of lifestyle regulation by the ruling class, and that its function is to provide a set of plausible excuses for the extraction of resources from the people and for the exercise of power over them. This book provides a kind of “unified field” theory to bring within a single explanatory structure some of the most important attacks on free choice and government limitation that we face today.

An extract:


Another extract:


Nothing much there to disagree with.

With luck I’ll have the paperback by Saturday.

About Frank Davis

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Smoking, Class And The Legitimisation Of Power

  1. Tony says:

    Sorry, somewhat off topic, except for the ‘ruling classes aspect’ :

    UKIP promises to at least partially repeal the smoking ban in Scotland if they get control of Holyrood in 2 weeks time:
    “The smoking ban has had a disastrous effect of sections of the Scottish economy and society. It has led to an increase in smoking at home in front of children and a reduction in people meeting face to face adversely affecting society in a negative manner.
    UKIP understands the concerns surrounding smoking in public places but several systems are used abroad which do away with the negative impact on non-smokers, while at the same time allowing smokers to enjoy their pint. UKIP proposes to allow pubs and clubs the choice to open smoking rooms if they so wish. These rooms must be physically separate from non-smoking rooms and must be properly ventilated. Workers must not be required to enter a smoking room except for cleaning and other essential purposes and only when the room is not in use.”

    Unfortunately, by contrast, all I can see in the UKIP manifesto for Wales is:
    “save the pub through tax breaks for smaller breweries and oppose minimum pricing for alcohol. “

    Like that’ll work.

    • Frank Davis says:

      the ‘ruling classes aspect’

      Perhaps it’s just me, but whenever I come across any mention of “class” or “ruling class” in any piece of writing, I tend to assume that the author has a Marxist or leftist pedigree. I tend to prefer to use “the political class” as a descriptor of that set of people – both left and right – who are (or who imagine themselves to be) in political control of any society. The “ruling class” has shades of knights on horseback riding out from moated castles, which is not quite what happens these days.

  2. Tony says:

    I’ve just had a look around and found this, on Chris Tame:

    “As Director of the Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco (FOREST) between 1988 and 1995, he was able to put his ideas about winning the battle of ideas to memorable effect. Before he took over, the strategy of FOREST was a populist appeal to the then majority of smokers, coupled with a smooth public relations approach to those in power. Chris saw this strategy as useless. With the death of orthodox socialism, he saw that the campaign against smoking was part of a new ideology of legitimation for the ruling class. It was not to be countered with a few public rallies or a meeting with a few transient politicians. If it was to be turned back, it had to be defeated first at the level of abstract ideas… “

    I found this next sentence rather intriguing. Perhaps it has to do with the MSA but I doubt it. Perhaps more to do with advertising bans in the UK. Perhaps Sean Gabb can clarify?

    “Chris left FOREST in 1995, after the managers of the big tobacco companies had done what they thought was a deal with the politicians that would allow them to save on funding any campaigns of defence.”

    I t also seems that Chris Tame was a self described health freak and non smoker. Died of cancer at 56.

    P. S. It looks to me as though the obituaries and Wikipedia entry, on Chris Tame, were influenced by or adjusted by the anti-smokers to some degree.

    • waltc says:

      I’ve noticed the Ants readjust Wikipedia regularly. They must have an army of daily editores and rewriters. I once corrected a blatantly false and biased entry on SHS only to find my contrary additions gone the next day and every time I posted them again, they’d disappear as fast. Kind of like Orwell’s Ministry of Truth, they control the information flow. No one’s allowed to know wht they don’t want them to know.

      I’m interested in your review of that book, Frank, and whether it’s worth getting. Saw it on fb too and was intrigued by the tease-quote about the reason for banning bear-hunts

      • Frank Davis says:

        The tease quote:

        “The puritan hated bear baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.” T.B. Macaulay, 1848

        • Cecily Collingridge says:

          This reference to Macaulay reminds me of that famous verse from his poem Horatius that I think is apt in the fight against anti-smokers…

          Then out spake brave Horatius,
          The Captain of the gate:
          ‘To every man upon this earth
          Death cometh soon or late.
          And how can man die better
          Than facing fearful odds,
          For the ashes of his fathers,
          And the temples of his Gods

  3. waltc says:

    Third hand. From Dave Atherton. Same applies in the US. In fact, it’s international. The rise of ThebNew Class

    • Frank Davis says:

      “People who drink beer (the cheap session beer they sell in working mens’ clubs and discount supermarkets), smoke, vape and enjoy fatty burgers or sugary sweets, these are the people who aren’t welcome in today’s Labour Party. Indeed, it’s hard to think of anywhere that these people – millions of them – can find a political place that doesn’t treat them like some sort of pariah. It’s a sad state of affairs when the persistent lobbying of a few – a tiny few – fanatics has resulted in the lifestyle choices of millions being condemned as unhealthy, unsightly and unfavoured.”

  4. annabellc says:

    And now they say loneliness because of social isolation causes a 30% increase in heart attacks and strokes. Don’t they yet realise this is a direct result of the smoking ban! Although the health freaks would never like to admit their actions are actually causing more harm than good,

  5. Joe L. says:

    OT: In case anyone needed further evidence that ‘Public Health’ is simply Newspeak for ‘Puritanism’

    Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signs resolution calling porn a ‘health hazard’

  6. Cecily Collingridge says:

    O/T I got exasperated yesterday by how BBC Radio 4 were reporting on a recent study that suggests rates of dementia are falling in the UK among men. Particularly in the brief news summaries on the hour, the BBC chose to report that this was mainly due to the fall in smoking. By prioritising smoking in this way, they are giving a totally distorted picture.

    • jaxthefirst says:

      I noticed that too, Cecily – except that the first time I heard the report the reasons given were much more general, i.e. “better general health awareness on behalf of men.” I remember it clearly, because the moment the bulletin started I was waiting for the oh-so-predictable link to giving up smoking – and then was delighted when it didn’t appear! Then, by the time the later editions were read out, this had changed to (emphasis mine): “… the changes might be due to more healthy lifestyles by men, such as [giving up smoking.” I wondered whether perhaps one of the anti-smokers’ drones tasked with media monitoring had had a quiet word in a sympathetic reporter’s ear and said, “Hey, you’re denying us the chance for a little anti-smoking barb with this one! Can’t have any health improvements not linked to giving up smoking, can we? Stick a little comment in on our behalf, in the next bulletin, will you?”

      Oh, and re: Wikipedia, Frank, I think that editors are automatically notified by text when one of “their” allocated articles is changed, so that they can check it and, if necessary, change it back again. I only know this because I was listening to Jeremy Vine on the radio one time and the subject of Wikipedia’s inaccuracies arose and he pointed out that one piece of the information about him (an old job or something) was categorically incorrect. His producer went into Wikipedia and deleted the incorrect item, but then Vine announced within about 30 seconds that it had reappeared again!

  7. Smoking Lamp says:

    The antismokers are clearly the tools of the new global political elites. Healthiest and totalitarian measures ensure the social control needed for them to extract resources from the masses. The tactics and propaganda Orwell warned about are now a reality. Censorship is common. Concerted political action is needed to stop this tyranny. This isn’t about smoking anymore. Vaping, sugar, processed meats, and who knows what next are the targets employed to keep the majority from seeing the manipulations of the political class.

  8. smokingscot says:


    Oh my goodness gracious me (extremely deep virtual sarcasm there dontyaknow).

    Anyhow his excellency the revered Jean-Claude Juncker has made a whole bunch of qualified admissions. And one of them is:

    “we were wrong in overregulating and interfering too much in the daily lives of our fellow citizens.”


    “What does the European Commission do? The European Commission is doing less. I think that one of the reasons that European citizens are stepping away from the European project is due to the fact that we are interfering in too many domains of their private lives, and too many domains where the member states are better placed to take action and pass legislation,”

    So what-you-gonna-do about that tobacco directive Jean?

  9. Pingback: Juncker Admits: Too Much Interference | Frank Davis

No need to log in

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.